, Newburyport, MA

July 6, 2013

Kicking the healthcare can down the road

Newburyport Daily News

---- — Bill Plante

Big Freddy was sweltering when he joined me mid-morning, and I told him I really hadn’t expected he would show up because of the heat.

“Air conditioner gave up the ghost, and I’m switching to iced coffee,” he said.

“Temporary relief, but I’ll take it,” I said.

“So has Obama, “ Freddy said as he opened his morning newspaper.

“I read that,” I said. “ They’re delaying the health care mandate for employers another year.”

“Beautiful timing, with as much cover as cover can be,” Freddy said.

“The Fourth of July?’’ I asked.

“That and the weather,” Freddy said. “Storms everywhere? Floods or fires, and on the day before the Fourth? Other things on our minds.”

“I’ve been reading Patrick says the feds won’t grant wavers to states like ours that have there own health care laws,” I said.

“We’re ahead of the fed’s and tinkering with the details to bring it in line with Obama Care,” Freddy said.

“Trying to, but the feds have the upper hand,” I said.

“By the time they get through with this, that, and the whatever down there, we’re going to wind up with less of what we have and more of something else that’s not going down well with businesses,” Freddy said.

“So they’re kicking the can down the road?” I said.

“Don’t knock it,” Freddy said. “Something this big with what’s at stake three years from now? You’d better get what your doing right, and what getting the health care law right for both parties is winning or losing, and by how much in 2016.

“Look. Costs are going to go up. No way of stopping that. Patrick’s trying to get wavers on regs he says will drive them. Good luck for that, but don’t hold your breath. Feds say no, costs go up, but - Hey, he tried.

“So much for states’ rights,” I said.

“So much for individual rights, but that’s the road we’ve been on for a long time,” Freddy said.

“It’s not been all that bad,” I said.

“It’s always in the eyes of the beholders,” Freddy said.

“Them that has, gets?” I asked.

“Short term, politically, yes,” Freddy said. “But long term down the road? Who knows? We get to deal with things by electing those we hope will look out for our interests. The problem with health care is we’re the sheep in pastures overloaded with turnstiles, sheep herders, and regulators, to say nothing of insurers who have something more than us in mind.”

“So we pass a law that has so many pages it’s a good bet most in Congress haven’t read it all, but never mind.”

“Well, that’s what the majority wanted,” I said.

“The majority wanted Obama to win,” Freddy said. “He wanted universal health care, so, apparently, did those who wanted him, but I doubt it. A lot didn’t want Romney.

“So, case closed?” I asked.

“No, case wide open,” Freddy said.

“Remember how it used to be when you were sick and the doctor would come to your house? You weren’t all that eager to see him, especially when he opened his case.

“That’s what’s going on in Washington, and it won’t be closed until November of 2016.”

Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and staff columnist.